It may seem like the social media bandwagon is the place to be for all businesses. Before you jump on it though, you have to make sure it’s where you should be too. Not all businesses are suited to social media marketing so you must find out where your business stands.
The importance of social media can be gauged by the type of product or service you wish to sell, or by figuring out what your target demographic is. Having clear cut objectives or goals for your business is imperative in this respect—one can analyse these goals and see whether their plans for the future and their plans for social media expansion are in conjunction with one another. If they aren’t, there really isn’t any point in dabbling in social media.
If you operate within an industry falling under the model of perfect competition, where the goods all producers make are homogenous, there’s a good chance branching into social media will be a waste of time for you. If you’re a small time t-shirt maker targeting teenagers and young adults, social media would probably be a great avenue for you to market yourself, sell your products online and generally create interest in your brand.
The next step (assuming you have realized that social media is for you) would be to choose a social media platform that effectively covers all bases. You could either go for an off-the-shelf service like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or you could have social media software tailor-made especially for your business—which would likely be quite expensive.
From a marketing point of view, social media websites like Facebook and Twitter would be excellent for promoting products. On Facebook, one has the options of using Facebook Pages or Facebook Ads for promotion. Facebook Ads are way better than Google’s Adwords because Facebook has the ability to target specified demographics very accurately. For instance, you can filter out people who see your ad according to age, gender and other specific keywords you choose to include. Your ads can be either pay per click or pay per impression. Twitter is an easy forum to post quick promotional updates on. Twitter Hashtags allow you to pinpoint groups of people who may be interested in what you’re trying to sell. Another social media marketing platform currently on the rise is Google +. As described in this blog post, G+ has shown a tremendous increase in popularity at a faster rate than any other social media platform ever. With the launch of Google + Brand Pages, getting your company online is as easy as ABC. Here’s a blog post that tells you exactly how to do that, and another one that shows you how to make the most of your Brand Page.
These platforms, however, can be useful for more than just marketing your products and services. Twitter can also be used to network and expand your customer base. Just by searching for a particular keyword, you can target a whole lot of people interested in what you’re selling, ask them to subscribe to your updates and generate some interest in previously untapped segments of the market.
It may sound obvious, but a major part of social media is social interaction. You can use this social interaction to your advantage by being involved in conversations with users about what they like and what they don’t. Providing customer service over social media is a good way to utilize the tool and generate positive reviews from your customers.
There are many different ways of making use of social media once you’re sure this is what your business needs to kick up its heels a little. Using a little social media goes a long way, but you can also mix and match different media the way Starbucks does to create a truly interconnected and seamless experience for your clientele.
For more tips on social media marketing, check out the Moonlight Marketing Blog.